Subaru BRZ Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
This week my wife and I took our SS1 MT LTD for its first road trip, reaching the end of break-in period while on the road. We drove to and through some of the windiest sections of southwest New Mexico, driving many of the roads described by jtliltd in his trip report from last fall. I'll cover my driving impressions of the BRZ, the roads, and a little about the sights, in this post and a couple of self-replies.

We easily fit two 22-inch roll-a-board suitcases, plus briefcases and all the miscellaneous stuff you take on a road trip, into the trunk and backseat. The ride was actually pretty comfortable, and I didn't get much of the bone-jarring shakes through the suspension that I usually get on the lousy pavement I drive on my commute. To get to our vacation base of Silver City, we took the freeway, and the drive was easy. The car felt like a GT. The next morning we headed out to tackle the serious curves. Our first destination was the Gila Cliffs National Monument, some 45 miles away. New Mexico Hwy 15 winds through the Gila Mountains, climbing curve after curve to over 7,000 feet. Here is a shot of the BRZ on the way up...

BRZ on NM 15 2.jpg

... and toward the top of the pass before descending to the national monument.

BRZ on NM 15.jpg

The terrain is pretty rugged...

Gila National Forest.jpg

So the road is super curvy, with lots of ascending and descending turns. Here's a shot of Google Earth of a section of the drive.

NM 15B.jpg

At the end of the road, which you drive back the way you came, you come to the Gila Cliffs National Monument, which was home to Mogollon people around 1,100 years ago.

Gila Cliffs National Monument.jpg

At this point the BRZ still had less than 1k miles on it, so we didn't really run high revs. Nevertheless, the handling was just as expected, with the car taking curves exactly where you pointed it. Luckily the roads were clear of snow. Hwy 15 had been closed because of snow about two weeks ago, but by the time we got there the snow was limited to lingering roadside patches. I pushed the car on the turns, but I never sensed any doubt about where the car was heading. All in all, much fun.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter #2
This is the second part of the trip report, with a side comment about one of the sights.

On the way back to Silver City, if you take a detour for additional windy roads on NM 27 through Mimbres, the route takes you past the Santa Rita Mine, one of the world's largest open-pit mines. This copper mine has been open since 1909 and now operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. The pit is something like a mile wide and a half-mile deep.

Santa Rita Mine.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
The next day, leaving Silver City on NM Hwy 180 toward Glenwood, our first stop was the Catwalk Trail, which extends into a narrow canyon. To get there, you have to ford Whitewater Creek, twice going and twice coming back. I figured, hey, it's a Subaru, and we made it.

Whitewater Creek Ford.jpg

The full trail wasn't open because it's undergoing repairs, but this gives an idea of what the walk up the canyon is like--and why they call in the Catwalk Trail.

Catwalk Trail.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
After the Catwalk Trail, our next destination was NM Hwy 159, a super-curvy road that take you to the ghost town of Mogollon. The road is two lanes for a while and then drops down to one lane for most of the 9 miles or so of mountainous, sinuous chicanes and hairpin turns. The road turns to gravel after Mogollon, so that's as far as we went, sounding our horn to alert cars coming the other way around blind corners.

The two-lane part of the road had plenty of fun curves.

Mogollon Road.jpg

The one-lane part was also fun but required more attention.

Mogollon Road 2.jpg

And this shot gives something of an overview of what the road is like as it descends from the pass into Mogollon.

Mogollon Road 3.jpg

As I said, Mogollon is a ghost town. There are a few tourist-oriented businesses--all closed on the day we visited--and if you get low on gas you're out of luck.

Mogollon Gas Station.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter #6 (Edited)
On our way back to Silver City from Mogollon the BRZ passed the 1k miles mark, making it out of the break-in period. So the next day we were able to open up a little on the revs. Our drive through Southwestern New Mexico took us from Silver City on NM Hwy 152 over the Black Mountains into the Rio Grande Valley. This road is quite something--here's section from Google Maps. The pass is over 8,000 feet in elevation.

NM 152.jpg

Handling wasn't the problem, as the BRZ was great in corners both uphill and down, and the extra revs helped maintain--and build--speed in the uphill curves. No, the problem was the speed limits, which were waaay slower than the BRZ could manage. We had fun anyway. Here's what all those curves look like on the ground.

NM 152.jpg

When Hwy 152 reached the valley, we turned south toward Hatch on NM Hwy 27, which isn't quite as windy but still has great fun-driving curves as it makes its way through the mountains to the southeast.

NM 27.jpg

This route took us past another ghost town, Lake Valley, NM, which, thanks to the discovery of silver in the 1880s, grew to some 4,000 people. But by 1893 it was already virtually deserted. Here's some of what remains.

Lake Valley, NM.jpg

And with that, we completed our break-in run through Southwest New Mexico and headed home.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
55 Posts
Discussion Starter #7
>I also have an SS1 - my favorite color - hides dirt well

Hey Sleeper WRX, I agree that this is one of the great things about silver. We had the BRZ in the back country, with dirt and dust and all kinds of stuff and it still looked great.

IMG_0298-B.jpg
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
315 Posts
Thanks for the outstanding report.
Central Texas hill country roads have plenty of twisties, but few of the great mountain vistas.
I'll have to keep some of the roads you took in mind for the next time I head to New Mexico.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top